Little Sisters Foundation
Alexa Young, CA
Board Of Directors
Lisa M. Drennan, Chairwoman and Executive Director
Eoj S. Johnson
Scott A. McKeown, MBA, JD
8700 SW Barbur Court, Suite S
Portland, OR 97219
The story of Little Sisters Foundation begins 18 years ago in Nepal when Kristina Carlson Jones moved to Kathmandu to open a meditation center under the direction of Stuart Perrin. The small group of students that traveled with her were well aware of the primitive and impoverished conditions of people there and of the need to work and serve the people, but they weren’t sure upon arriving what the exact nature of service would be. It didn’t take long for their work to reveal itself. Shortly after opening the doors to the center, Kristina discovered the horrific, systematic abduction and trafficking of children into sexual slavery. She met a Nepalese doctor, Aruna Uprety; who detailed the horror of how girls between 10 and 14 years were being bought by sex traffickers in the hinterlands of Nepal for transport to brothels on Falkland Road in Bombay (Mumbai).
Immediately, she contacted Stuart Perrin in New York to report her findings. They both understood they had to do something to find a way to protect these children. Thus Bahini (“Little Sister” in Nepalese) Foundation was born, one of the first organizations of its kind in Nepal.
Within a few months Bahini Foundation had set up a safe house in Kathmandu to provide shelter for the children. Bahini Foundation in Nepal worked closely with Dr. Uprety to identify young girls who were prime targets for sex traders. They went to families in poverty stricken villages and showed them there was an alternative to the brothels on Falkland Road. At that time, the income of such families was about $15.00 to $20.00 per year. A girl could easily bring $200.00 from a trafficker—and more if she was a virgin. The family would no longer have to worry about raising money for her dowry. She would go to Bombay, Delhi or Calcutta to “work.” No one in the village knew exactly what kind of work, but they all hoped she would send money home to help the family survive.
In a matter of weeks, it became clear—the plight of these prepubescent children was heartbreaking. After many difficult months spent looking for and identifying girls who were potential targets for sex traders, Bahini Foundation in Nepal convinced a few families to forgo the money they would make selling their children and entrust them to the Foundation’s care, and hopefully a dignified future.
It wasn’t easy to do and often they were not successful, but a number of girls came to live in a large house the Foundation rented in Kathmandu. They were enrolled in school, fed and sheltered. Even in the safety of Bahini House, they had to remain vigilant to keep the girls from the clutches of sex traffickers. They also welcomed women and their children who had escaped from brothels in Mumbai.
On one occasion, at the risk of her life, Kristina Carlson Jones outfitted as a nurse, went into the Falkland Road hellhole of brothels in Mumbai to document the dismal condition of young girls who were sold to traffickers. Had the brothel owners known what Kristina was really up to, most likely they would have killed her.
The Nepalese Government kept the sex trafficking business under wraps. It was an embarrassment, something no one in Nepal would speak about. Occasionally, a high-ranked politician would furtively show up with tears in his eyes and thank Bahini Foundation for helping his people. By and large, the world has until today remained indifferent to the plight of these Nepalese girls and has essentially ignored the most despicable criminal horror ever inflicted on innocent children.
One of the Foundation’s goals was to school the brightest of these children in the West. It was their hope that through education, they would return to Nepal as doctors, teachers, economists, mathematicians and scientists, and thus help to raise the economic and social conditions of the Nepalese people and eliminate the sex trade.
In time, the Bahini Foundation in Nepal became part of R.H.E.S.T. (Rural Health and Education Service Trust of Nepal)—a Nepalese NGO headed by Dr. Uprety. It is run under that name in Nepal to this day. Dr. Uprety recently reported that the creation of the Bahini Foundation in Nepal helped to save at least 8,500 innocent girls from sexual slavery.